Professor Luke McNamara

PhD (University of Wollongong)

LLM (University of Manitoba)


Luke McNamara is Professor and Co-Director of the Centre for Crime, Law and Justice in the Faculty of Law and Justice at the University of New South Wales.  His research focuses on the deployment of criminalisation as a public policy tool, with a focus on public order and anti-social behaviour, and safety from violence. He is the author of the books Regulating Racism: Racial Vilification Laws in Australia (2002), and Human Rights Controversies: The Impact of Legal Form (2007); and a co-author of Criminal Laws: Materials and Commentary on Criminal Law and Process of New South Wales (7th ed, 2020).

Recent journal articles have appeared in Criminology & Criminal JusticeInternational Journal for Crime, Justice & Social Democracy, New Criminal Law ReviewUNSW Law Journal, International Journal of Law, Crime and JusticeCriminal Law Journal and Current Issues in Criminal Justice. 


Brown D; Farrier D; McNamara L; Steel A; Grewcock M; Quilter J; Schwartz M; Anthony T; Loughnan A, 2020, Criminal Laws: Materials and Commentary on Criminal Law and Process of New South Wales, Federation Press, Sydney,

Brown D; Farrier D; McNamara L; Grewcock M; Quilter J; Steel A; Schwartz M, 2015, Criminal Laws: Materials and Commentary on Criminal Law and Process of NSW, 6th Edition, Federation Press, Sydney

McNamara L, 2007, Human rights controversies: The impact of legal form,

Brown D; Farrier D; Egger S; McNamara L; Steel A, 2006, 1 86287 596 0 Criminal Laws: Materials and Commentary on Criminal Law and Process in New South Wales 4th edn, The Federation Press, Sydney

Journal articles

Perkins D; Brophy H; McGregor IS; O'Brien P; Quilter J; McNamara L; Sarris J; Stevenson M; Gleeson P; Sinclair J; Dietze P, 2021, 'Medicinal cannabis and driving: the intersection of health and road safety policy.', Int J Drug Policy, vol. 97, pp. 103307,

Quilter J; McNamara L; Walsh T; Anthony T, 2020, 'Homelessness and Contact with the Criminal Justice System: Insights from Magistrates in Australia', Journal of Judicial Administration, vol. 30, pp. 64 - 80,

McNamara L; Quilter J; Walsh T; Anthony T, 2020, 'Homelessness and contact with the criminal justice system: Insights from specialist lawyers and allied professionals in Australia', International Journal for Crime, Justice and Social Democracy, vol. 9,

Walsh T; McNamara L; Quilter J; Anthony T, 2019, 'National Study on the Criminalisation of Poverty and Homelessness', Parity, vol. 32, pp. 25 - 27,;dn=686258036256092;res=IELHSS

Trollip H; McNamara L; Gibbon H, 2019, 'The factors associated with the policing of offensive language: a qualitative study of three Sydney Local Area Commands', Current Issues in Criminal Justice, vol. 31, pp. 493 - 512,

McNamara L; Quilter J, 2019, 'Criminalising protest through the expansion of police ‘move-on’ powers: A case study from Australia', International Journal of Law, Crime and Justice, vol. 58, pp. 22 - 34,

Monds L; Quilter J; van Golde C; McNamara L, 2019, 'Police as Experts in the Detection of Alcohol and Other Drug Intoxication: A Review of the Scientific Evidence within the Australian Legal Context', University of Queensland Law Journal, vol. 38, pp. 367 - 388,

McNamara L; Quilter J; Hogg R; Loughnan A; Douglas H; Brown D; Farmer L, 2019, 'Understanding processes of criminalisation: Insights from an Australian study of criminal law-making', Criminology and Criminal Justice, pp. 1 - 21,

McNamara L; Quilter J, 2018, 'High court constitutional challenges to criminal law and procedure legislation in Australia', University of New South Wales Law Journal, vol. 41, pp. 1047 - 1082

Richards J; McNamara L, 2018, 'Just Attribution of Criminal Liability: Consideration of Extended Joint Criminal Enterprise Post-Miller', Criminal Law Journal, vol. 42, pp. 372-386 - 372-386

McNamara L; Quilter J; Hogg R; Douglas H; Loughnan A; Brown D, 2018, 'Theorising Criminalisation: The Value of a Modalities Approach', International Journal for Crime, Justice and Social Democracy, vol. 7, pp. 91 - 121,

Quilter J; McNamara L, 2018, 'Guest editors’ introduction special edition: Hidden criminalisation—punitiveness at the edges', International Journal for Crime, Justice and Social Democracy, vol. 7, pp. 1 - 3,

Quilter J; McNamara L; Seear K; Room R, 2018, 'The significance of 'intoxication' in Australian criminal law', Trends and Issues in Crime and Criminal Justice, pp. 1 - 16,

Quilter J; McNamara L, 2018, 'The meaning of ‘‘intoxication’’ in Australian criminal cases: Origins and operation', New Criminal Law Review, vol. 21, pp. 170 - 207,

McNamara L; Quilter J; Seear K; Room R, 2017, 'Evidence of Intoxication in Australian Criminal Courts: A Complex Variable with Multiple Effects', Monash University Law Review, vol. 43, pp. 148 - 194

Quilter J; McNamara L, 2017, 'Zero tolerance drug driving laws in Australia: A gap between rationale and form?', International Journal for Crime, Justice and Social Democracy, vol. 6, pp. 47 - 71,

Gelber K; McNamara L, 2016, 'Anti-vilification Laws and Public Racism in Australia: mapping the gaps between the harms occasioned and the remedies provided', University of New South Wales Law Journal, vol. 39, pp. 488 - 511

Quilter J; McNamara L; Seear K; Room R, 2016, 'Criminal Law and the Effects of Alcohol and Other Drugs: a National Study of the Significance of 'Intoxication' in Australian Legislation', University of New South Wales Law Journal, vol. 39, pp. 913 - 949,

Quilter J; McNamara L, 2016, 'Street Music and the Law in Australia Busker Perspectives on the Impact of Local Council Rules and Regulations', Journal of Musicological Research, vol. 35, pp. 113 - 127,

Gelber K; McNamara L; Gelber K, 2016, 'Evidencing the harms of hate speech', Social Identities, vol. 22, pp. 324 - 341,

McNamara L; Quilter J, 2016, 'The “Bikie Effect” and other Forms of Demonisation: the Origins and Effects of Hyper-criminalisation', Law in Context, vol. 34, pp. 5 - 35

Quilter J; McNamara L; Seear K; Room R, 2016, 'The Definition and Significance of 'Intoxication' in Australian Criminal Law: A Case Study of Queensland's 'Safe Night Out' Legislation', QUT Law Review, vol. 16, pp. 42 - 58,

McNamara L; Quilter J , 2015, 'Public Intoxication in NSW: The Contours of Criminalisation', The Sydney Law Review, vol. 37, pp. 1 - 35

McNamara L; Quilter J, 2015, 'Institutional Influences on the Parameters of Criminalisation: Parliamentary Scrutiny of Criminal Law Bills in New South Wales', Current Issues in Criminal Justice, vol. 27, pp. 21 - 40

Gelber K; Mcnamara L, 2015, 'The Effects of Civil Hate Speech Laws: Lessons from Australia', Law and Society Review, vol. 49, pp. 631 - 664,

Quilter J; McNamara L, 2015, ''Long may the buskers carry on busking': Street music and the law in Melbourne and Sydney', Melbourne University Law Review, vol. 39, pp. 539 - 591

Gelber K; McNamara L, 2014, 'Changes in the expression of prejudice in public discourse in Australia: assessing the impact of hate speech laws on letters to the editor 1992-2010', Australian Journal of Human Rights, vol. 20, pp. 99 - 128,

Gelber K ; McNamara L, 2014, 'Private Litigation to address a public wrong: a study of Australia's regulatory response to 'hate speech'', Civil Justice Quarterly, vol. 33, pp. 307 - 334

McNamara L; Quilter J , 2014, 'Turning the Spotlight on 'Offensiveness' as a Basis for Criminal Liability', Alternative Law Journal, vol. 39, pp. 36 - 39

McNamara L, 2014, 'A Judicial contribution to over-criminalisation?: Extended joint criminal enterprise liability for murder', Criminal Law Journal, vol. 38, pp. 104 - 117,

Gelber K; McNamara L, 2013, 'Freedom of speech and racial vilification in Australia: 'The Bolt case' in public discourse', Australian Journal of Political Science, vol. 48, pp. 470 - 484,

Durbach A; McNamara L; Rix M; Rice S, 2013, 'Public Interest Litigation: Making the Case in Australia', Alternative Law Journal, vol. 38, pp. 219 - 223,

McNamara L; Quilter J, 2013, 'Time to define ‘the cornerstone of public order legislation’: the elements of offensive conduct and language under the summary offences act 1988 (NSW)', University of New South Wales Law Journal, vol. 36, pp. 534 - 562,

Arzey S; Mcnamara L, 2011, 'Invoking international human rights law in a "rights-free zone": Indigenous justice campaigns in Australia', Human Rights Quarterly, vol. 33, pp. 733 - 766,

McNamara L, 1994, 'Criminalising Racial Hatred: Learning from the Canadian Experience', Australian Journal of Human Rights, vol. 1, pp. 198 - 210,

Book Chapters

McNamara L; Quilter J, 2020, 'New South Wales: Insights into Influencing the Shape of Criminal Law Making', in Debeljak J; Grenfell L (ed.), Law making and human rights: executive and parliamentary scrutiny across Australian jurisdictions, Thomson Reuters, Sydney,

McNamara L, 2015, 'Criminalisation Research in Australia: Building a foundation for normative theorising and principled law reform', in Crofts T; Loughnan A (ed.), Criminalisation and Criminal Responsibility in Australia, Oxford University Press, pp. 33 - 51

Gelber K ; McNamara L, 2015, 'The impact of section 18C and other civil anti-vilification laws in Australia', in Australian Human Rights Commission (ed.), Perspectives on the Racial Discrimination Act: papers from the 40 Years of the Racial Discrimination Act Conference, Australian Human Rights Commission

McNamara L, 2013, ''Legal Form' and the Purchase of Human Rights Discourse in Domestic Policy-making: The Achievement of Same-Sex Marriage in Canada', in Verschraegen G; Madsen M (ed.), Making Human Rights Intelligible: Towards a Sociology of Human Rights, Hart Publishing, pp. 247 - 265


Stubbs J; Findlay L; McNamara L; Steel A, 2019, Submission to the NSW Sentencing Council’s review of sentencing for the offences of murder and manslaughter, including penalties imposed for domestic and family violence homicides and the standard non-parole periods for murder,

2014 Australian Political Studies Association Mayer Journal Article Prize for K Gelber and L McNamara, ‘Freedom of Speech and Racial Vilification in Australia: “The Bolt Case” in Public Discourse’ (2013) 48(4) Australian Journal of Political Science 470-484.

  • 2021-2024 Australian Research Council Discovery Project (DP210101072) Grant: “Violence, Risk and Safety: The Changing Face of Australian Criminal Laws” (with Associate Professor Julia Quilter (UOW), Professor Arlie Loughnan (U Syd), Professor Russell Hogg (QUT), Emeritus Professor David Brown (UNSW) and Professor Lindsay Farmer (Glasgow) Amount awarded: $327,330
  • 2020-2023 Australian Research Council Discovery Project (DP 200100101) Grant: “Intoxication Evidence in Rape Trials: A Double-Edged Sword?” (with Associate Professor Julia Quilter (UOW). Amount awarded: $239,322.
  • 2017-2020 Australian Research Council Linkage Project (LP160101543) Grant: “Criminalisation of poverty and homelessness in Australia: A national study” (with Professor Tamara Walsh (UQ), Associate Professor Julia Quilter (UOW) and Professor Thalia Anthony (UTS). Amount awarded: $156,000
  • 2015 Australian Institute of Criminology - Criminology Research Grant: “Knowledges of ‘Intoxication’ and Australian Criminal Law: Implications for addressing Alcohol and Other Drug-Related Harms and Risks” (with Associate Professor Julia Quilter (UOW), Dr Kate Seear (Monash U) and Professor Robin Room (Centre for Alcohol Policy Research, La Trobe University). Amount awarded: $69,000.
  • 2010-2012 Australian Research Council Discovery Project (DP1096721) Grant: “The Impact of Hate Speech Laws on Public Discourse in Australia” (with Professor Kath Gelber, UQ). Amount awarded: $192,000.

criminal law reform and the use of criminalisation as a public policy tool
criminal law and intoxication/alcohol and drug effects
public order and the regulation of behaviour in public spaces

racism and racial vilification/hate speech laws